Host and deploy ASP.NET Core

In general, to deploy an ASP.NET Core app to a hosting environment:

  • Deploy the published app to a folder on the hosting server.
  • Set up a process manager that starts the app when requests arrive and restarts the app after it crashes or the server reboots.
  • For configuration of a reverse proxy, set up a reverse proxy to forward requests to the app.

Publish to a folder

The dotnet publish command compiles app code and copies the files required to run the app into a publish folder. When deploying from Visual Studio, the dotnet publish step occurs automatically before the files are copied to the deployment destination.

Folder contents

The publish folder contains one or more app assembly files, dependencies, and optionally the .NET runtime.

A .NET Core app can be published as self-contained deployment or framework-dependent deployment. If the app is self-contained, the assembly files that contain the .NET runtime are included in the publish folder. If the app is framework-dependent, the .NET runtime files aren't included because the app has a reference to a version of .NET that's installed on the server. The default deployment model is framework-dependent. For more information, see .NET Core application deployment.

In addition to .exe and .dll files, the publish folder for an ASP.NET Core app typically contains configuration files, static assets, and MVC views. For more information, see ASP.NET Core directory structure.

Set up a process manager

An ASP.NET Core app is a console app that must be started when a server boots and restarted if it crashes. To automate starts and restarts, a process manager is required. The most common process managers for ASP.NET Core are:

Set up a reverse proxy

If the app uses the Kestrel server, Nginx, Apache, or IIS can be used as a reverse proxy server. A reverse proxy server receives HTTP requests from the Internet and forwards them to Kestrel.

Either configuration—with or without a reverse proxy server—is a supported hosting configuration for ASP.NET Core 2.0 or later apps. For more information, see When to use Kestrel with a reverse proxy.

If the app uses the Kestrel server and will be exposed to the Internet, use Nginx, Apache, or IIS as a reverse proxy server. A reverse proxy server receives HTTP requests from the Internet and forwards them to Kestrel. The main reason for using a reverse proxy is security. For more information, see When to use Kestrel with a reverse proxy.

Proxy server and load balancer scenarios

Additional configuration might be required for apps hosted behind proxy servers and load balancers. Without additional configuration, an app might not have access to the scheme (HTTP/HTTPS) and the remote IP address where a request originated. For more information, see Configure ASP.NET Core to work with proxy servers and load balancers.

Use Visual Studio and MSBuild to automate deployments

Deployment often requires additional tasks besides copying the output from dotnet publish to a server. For example, extra files might be required or excluded from the publish folder. Visual Studio uses MSBuild for web deployment, and MSBuild can be customized to do many other tasks during deployment. For more information, see Visual Studio publish profiles for ASP.NET Core app deployment and the Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build book.

By using the Publish Web feature or built-in Git support, apps can be deployed directly from Visual Studio to the Azure App Service. Azure DevOps Services supports continuous deployment to Azure App Service. For more information, see DevOps with ASP.NET Core and Azure.

Publish to Azure

See Publish an ASP.NET Core app to Azure with Visual Studio for instructions on how to publish an app to Azure using Visual Studio. An additional example is provided by Create an ASP.NET Core web app in Azure.

Publish with MSDeploy on Windows

See Visual Studio publish profiles for ASP.NET Core app deployment for instructions on how to publish an app with a Visual Studio publish profile, including from a Windows command prompt using the dotnet msbuild command.

Host in a web farm

For information on configuration for hosting ASP.NET Core apps in a web farm environment (for example, deployment of multiple instances of your app for scalability), see Host ASP.NET Core in a web farm.

Perform health checks

Use Health Check Middleware to perform health checks on an app and its dependencies. For more information, see Health checks in ASP.NET Core.

Additional resources